Have we reached the point where we lack self control so much that we need to advertise to drivers where they can pull off the road to text? Apparently so, in New York.
From yesterday’s Syracuse.com:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced dozens of “texting zones” along New York’s major roadways to remind drivers to pull over before answering texts or emails on their smart phones.
The 91 zones — many of which are existing pull-off and park-n-ride areas — will be newly advertised with bright blue signs to remind drivers to wait until the next safe pull-over area. The signs will also show how many miles ahead the next zone is.
“These zones will be identified with signs along the Thruway and state highways, reminding drivers that there is a nearby opportunity for them to legally and safely use their phone,” Cuomo said in a news release. “With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone.”
New York has passed strict laws in an attempt to curb cell phone use while driving. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has published $150 fines and driver violation points for those caught texting/calling and driving. And younger drivers with a learner’s permit or probationary license can face suspension of their permit or license for 60 days on the first offense.
As Syracuse.com reports, authorities have issued a LOT more tickets involving texting this year in comparison with last year, “Last summer, state police issued 5,208 tickets. This summer, they issued 21,580.”
I’ll be the first to admit, drivers on their cell phones annoy the heck out of me. But if there’s one thing I know about people who can’t hold out a few more miles to send a text or make a call or check their Twitter and Facebook feeds, those giant blue signs aren’t likely to make them wait. (I’m not sure how much tickets really deter them either, to be honest – who knows, maybe I’m wrong). As much as some might lack the self control, I think they were fully capable of figuring out that many of the already existing giant blue “Rest Stop Here” signs or other general observations along the roadway might indicate that’s a better place to stop and use their cell phones than doing so while driving a vehicle.
But hey, maybe we’ll run into Anthony Weiner at a text stop.